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November 16, 2006


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Carmine Coyote

I'm not sure "so what?" is a powerful question. It sounds a lot like a cop out to me.

Sure, most companies are complacent. That's why they so often react to new ideas with a "so what?" response; and why they defend the status quo by saying things like "It may sound harsh, but that's the way the world is."

We made the world like that. Who keeps it running that way? We do. But since we made things the way they are, we can change them too.

Companies fail to get innovative suggestions from their employees because they say things like "so what?" when they do. Or "we tried that once, and it didn't work;" or "no one will buy that one;" or "people just won't go for it." The list of instant, thought-free excuses for keeping things as they are is almost endless—and "so what?" is right up there at the top of it.

Idealism isn't a four-letter word. It's the starting point for just about every change you can think of. Check out my post at http://www.slowleadership.org, titled "Idealism is not a dirty word."

Don't let the conservatives browbeat you into accepting there is nothing to be done about the status quo!

Michelle Golden

Carmine, thanks for your post. Your point about the forms of rejection is right on.

I may not have been clear enough in my post that "So What?" isn't in reference to a rejection of the marketer's innovation or ideas, it is in reference to the list of (factual) reasons why marketers are shot down.

Actually, "So What?" is an enormously powerful question as per the Nobel Prize winning economist, Milton Friedman, who passed on yesterday. Ironically, I did not know of his passing when I wrote my post but I had him in mind.

From a dear colleague, I learned that Milton Friedman suggests a test of ideas/hypotheses (statements, conclusions, reactions, etc) with the two questions: "How do you know?" and "So What?" or What of it?

In other words, challenge your beliefs and contemplate the impact, if any, to the situation at hand.

As simple as the questions are, the use of them can be quite deep.

Suzanne Lowe

HI Michelle:

I've written a newsletter item that picks up on your (and others') points from this big discussion. Take a look: http://www.marketplacemasters.com/newsletter/2006/issue31-november2006.html.


Interesting post. The real problem is most biz owners never truly concentrate on marketing. They're preoccupied with distractions that burn time. Fixing the copier. Hassling with callers. Stocking shelves. They do eveything ELSE but focus on bringing in the money.

People with a pool store worry about the signs, or the chlorine display. Or the types of rafts.

They should worry about the marketing of bringing people into the store.

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